Waugh on Father’s Day

On the occasion of Father’s Day, in the San Diego Reader, a free distribution weekly newspaper, columnist Matthew Lickona has picked through his previous articles for those relating to fatherhood. This one from 1997 cites one of Waugh’s more neglected writings:

…In Evelyn Waugh’s short story, “Work Suspended,” the narrator falls in love with a pregnant woman, despite the fact that “her grace [is] daily more encumbered,” and she is “deprived of sex, as women are, by its own fulfillment.” In contrast to this is the love affair of Piet and pregnant Foxy in John Updike’s Couples, wherein Piet declares, “I love the way your belly is so hard and pushes at me.” Before I married, I agreed with Waugh — sex with a pregnant woman seemed somehow of another order, almost weird. But when Deirdre got pregnant, three months into our marriage, I started tending toward Updike.

Work Suspended was not written as a short story although it is published in collections with them. Waugh started it as a novel but was interrupted by his army duty in WWII. When he took up writing again, he started over and wrote Brideshead Revisited but published this fragment to show what might have been.

Another of Waugh’s fictional fathers is quoted in an editorial in the Spanish language paper Diario de Cadiz. This is in an article arguing that it is inappropriate to compare the number of deaths attributed to terrorism to those caused, for example, by traffic accidents:

But the whole point, even in the most well-intentioned cases, is to refer to the judgment of Gervase Crouchback, who in Evelyn Waugh’s trilogy Sword of Honor warned his son Guy, a soldier, that “Quantitative judgments do not apply,” that is , That “quantitative judgments do not count”. He said this in the middle of World War II. Every life is sacred and a dictator (or anyone) who unjustly strikes one has perpetrated a crime of incomparable magnitude. Our sensitivity does not need more crimes to horrify us.

The translation is by Google Translate with minor edits.

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This entry was posted in Brideshead Revisited, Newspapers, Sword of Honour, Work Suspended and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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